Department of Justice Mar-a-Lago files notice of appeal of special master

Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to restore access to classified material seized from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, saying their ongoing criminal investigation must determine whether there are still undiscovered sensitive government documents. In the interests of national security, an appeal must be made to the High Court.

Justice Department Attorneys U.S. District Judge Eileen M. They told Cannon they would appeal to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta if they were not granted the injunction they sought by Sept. 15.

Cannon It accepted Trump’s request on Monday Appointing a special master to review seized documents cannot be used until attorneys review it. His decision has been delayed — at least temporarily — by a high-profile Justice Department investigation into the former president’s alleged mishandling of classified information at his Florida home and club, as well as the concealment, tampering or destruction of government records.

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The Washington Post reported Tuesday that one of the documents was seized by the FBI A foreign government’s military defenses describe its nuclear capabilities, The people familiar with the situation spoke on condition of anonymity. The seized documents also described top-secret U.S. operations that were kept so closely guarded that some senior national security officials were kept in the dark about them, the people said.

The Post’s Perry Stein explains how a special master will identify if any documents seized by the FBI are protected by attorney-client or administrative privilege. (Video: The Washington Post)

In separate court filings Thursday, attorneys indicated their intention to appeal Cannon’s order. He asked for temporary suspension of two important parts of it: Both classified and unclassified documents must be reviewed by a special master, and FBI agents and prosecutors cannot even access classified documents for their criminal investigation until that review is complete.

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Ultimately, the Justice Department said a special master could be appointed to review personal documents and certain other items seized by FBI agents on Aug. 8 in the court-authorized Mar-a-Lago search, setting aside the necessary materials..

But attorneys argued that Canon should bar the special master from reviewing special documents — and immediately restore investigators’ access to those documents. The special master will still be able to sort personal documents and other materials seized by the FBI, setting aside necessary materials, the filing states.

Barring the use of classified material in an FBI investigation, even temporarily, “could impede efforts to discover the existence of additional classified records that are not properly stored — presenting the potential for continued national security risk,” the attorneys wrote. .

It’s the first time they’ve suggested in court filings that the government may have more unsecured classified materials.

Read the Justice Department’s filing asking Judge Cannon to partially block his order

Allowing a special master to review the classified material would “cause the most immediate and serious harm to the government and the public,” prosecutors wrote, adding that the seized documents had already been moved to a secure facility separate from others seized. Trump documents.

FBI Assistant Director Alan E. Kohler submitted a declaration that Canon barred investigators from using seized classified material, which could prevent them from understanding what happened to the significant number of empty folders found with classified markings.

While the existence of those empty folders was made public last week, a detailed list of what the FBI seized in the search remains unsealed.

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The FBI’s investigation “could be instrumental in determining what materials may have once been stored in those folders and what may have been lost or compromised,” Koehler wrote.

Special masters and Trump’s Mar-a-Lago documents: What you need to know

Trump’s legal team Argued in federal court in West Palm Beach Last week, a special master was required to decide whether more than 100 of the documents were classified because of attorney-client or administrative privilege. They also said an independent outside expert would boost “confidence” in the judiciary’s criminal investigation.

In response, Justice Department attorneys told Cannon they had already sorted through the documents, with a “filter panel” that could separate documents of more than 500 pages through attorney-client privilege.

That arrangement was approved by a U.S. magistrate judge, who authorized a search warrant for Mar-a-Lago. The administration has been trying for months to get Trump and to return all government documents held by his advisers on the property.

The Justice Department has argued that executive privilege cannot be asserted after a former president leaves office, nor can one part of the executive branch secure documents from another.

But even as Trump asserts executive privilege, the Justice Department argued in its Thursday filing that the government’s “demonstrated, specific need” to access classified material would override that privilege. Prosecutors also said Trump had no clear need to keep the classified documents.

“Among other things, the classified records are the subject of an ongoing government investigation,” the filing states.

Trump and the Mar-a-Lago Papers: A Chronology

In its original ruling, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said it could continue its analysis of the potential risk to national security by removing classified documents from government custody. .

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But Justice Department lawyers said Thursday that it is difficult to separate the FBI investigation from the intelligence review. They said they were unsure of the “limitations” and “implications” of the court order, and although the judge said the review could continue, their uncertainty forced the intelligence community to temporarily halt its review of the classified material.

Beyond the issue of access to classified documents, Cannon’s decision will have a broader appeal The judiciary carries its own legal risks.

For one thing, the appeals process takes longer than any document review by a special master. And if the case goes to the Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority that includes three Trump appointees, there is no guarantee the government will prevail.

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